Aikido is a defensive martial art. Training attacks include strikes and grabs whilst the defense consists of throws and pins. Aikido training is therefore performed on matting for obvious reasons!
As a large portion of the aikido curriculum consists of throws, the first thing that students learn is how to fall and roll safely. Every class begins with warm-up exercises, which include stretching and breakfall practice. Aikido training is based primarily on two partners practicing pre-arranged techniques eventually leading towards freestyle practice.
The normal training pattern is for the receiver of the technique (uke) to initiate an attack against the defender (tori), who then neutralises the attack using an Aikido technique. Both halves of the technique, that of uke and that of tori, are considered essential to Aikido training as both are studying the aikido principles of blending and adaptation. Tori learns to blend with and control attacking energy, while uke learns to become calm and flexible in the disadvantageous, off-balance positions in which tori places them. Uke continuously seeks to regain balance and cover vulnerabilities (e.g., an exposed side), while tori uses position and timing to keep uke off-balance and vulnerable. This helps to achieve controlled relaxation, flexibility and endurance.
Only pushing or extending movements are used in Aikido in contrast with the pulling or contracting movements found in strength enhancing systems like weight training. There is absolutely no emphasis placed on building up physical strength, but instead on the use of coordinated whole-body movement and balance, similar in a way, to yoga or pilates.
In order to practice Aikido with their partner, students must learn to deliver various types of attacks. Although attacks are not studied thoroughly as in striking-based arts, ‘honest’ attacks (a strong strike or an immobilizing grab) are needed to study correct and effective application of technique. After basic techniques are learned, students study freestyle defense against multiple opponents, and some techniques with weapons.
Freestyle practice with multiple attackers is a key part of most curriculae and is required for the higher level ranks. It exercises a person's ability to intuitively perform techniques in an unstructured environment. Strategic choice of techniques, based upon how they reposition the student relative to other attackers, is also important. Aikido training is mental as well as physical, training the ability to relax the mind and body even under the stress of dangerous situations. This is necessary in order to enable the practitioner to perform the bold ‘enter and blend’ movements that underlie Aikido techniques, wherein an attack is met with confidence and directness.
Aikido practitioners or aikidoka, generally progress by promotion through a series of kyu grades, followed by a series of dan grades, awarded after satisfactory completion of formal testing. Testing requirements vary, so a particular rank in one organization is not always comparable or interchangeable with the rank of another.
The uniform worn for practicing Aikido (aikidogi) is similar to the training uniform (keikogi) used in most other martial arts; simple trousers and a wraparound jacket, usually white. Both thick ‘judo-style’, and thin ‘karate-style’ cotton tops are used. Aikido-specific tops are also available with shorter sleeves, which reach to just below the elbow. A pair of wide pleated black or indigo trousers called hakama may be worn. In many styles it is reserved for black belt practitioners, while others allow all practitioners or female practitioners to wear it regardless of rank. Here at Pinner Aikido Club, a hakama may be worn after achieving 4th Kyu (Orange belt).
An important point to note about the aikido training, is that Aikido techniques can be practised fully since they do not require injury to the training partner. This is in contrast to some other martial arts where the techniques must be simulated in order to avoid injuring ones training partners.
Aikido is a modern Japanese Martial Art and is very different from disciplines such as Karate, Kick Boxing, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, MMA, BJJ, Kempo and Krav Maga where there is emphasis on kicking, punching or wrestling.
Aikido is an extremely efficient self defence (also as Self-Defence Women London) system utilising balance-taking and posture-breaking movements to achieve joint locks, pins and throws. It contains elements of Ju Jitsu, Kendo, Judo and other budo.
Aikido Classes are held every Tuesday and Wednesday evening at our Harrow dojo, and Thursday evening at our Pinner dojo in NW London. Pinner Aikido Club London is a part of the Kai Shin Kai International Traditional Aikido Association (KSK), which is a member of the British Aikido Board (BAB).
Aikido is essentially a non-violent Martial art system that encourages the avoidance of confrontation and harmony with an aggressor. The classes are well attended with Aikido students always on the mat and aimed at all levels, from beginner to advanced but everyone is welcome to come along regardless of fitness or experience.
Our Aikido students work at their own pace during the training sessions and no one is forced into doing anything they are not comfortable with.
Pinner Aikido Club in London can help you achieve self-defense skills, self-esteem, confidence, and fitness. Most of all though, our classes are fun.
You do not have to be competitive or naturally athletic to take part in the Aikido class. Learning Aikido is about self-improvement and self-confidence.
Regardless of your size, body type and current level of physical ability or disability. If you are looking for a healthier, more confident way of life, then the modern art of Aikido may well be for you.